• Insulation should be at the centre of the net zero journey.
    Insulation should be at the centre of the net zero journey.

Insulating new and existing buildings could reduce Australia’s annual emissions of CO2 by a substantial 7.1 million tonnes.

According to an Insulation in Australia report by the Affiliated Insulation Industry Coalition (AIIC), there is very little policy to improve the thermal performance of existing homes.

AIIC chair, Jim Hall, has called on governments to act by implementing incentives that increase the uptake of insulation.

“We need to ensure adequate insulation is retrofitted into all social housing, including public and community housing,” he said.

Hall has also called for the introduction of minimum standards for insulation in rental properties, mandatory energy rating disclosure when homes are sold and improved compliance and enforcement systems for the installation of insulation in new buildings, including inspections prior to any plastering.

“Insulation stops heat escaping buildings in winter and helps keep heat outside during summer by acting as a barrier to heat flow," he said.

“There are a wide range of insulation products, and the best option can vary based on building type, local climate and whether the insulation is mainly to keep heat out, keep heat in, or both.”

Well insulated homes and buildings reduce the need for heating and cooling, which in turn reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, Australian homes are responsible for around 24 per cent of overall electricity use and more than 10 per cent of the nation’s total carbon emissions.

Hall said energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioners are a core technology for electrifying and reducing the emissions of homes and workplaces.

However, research has shown that insulation when correctly installed in the building envelope of a home can drastically improve the comfort levels of occupants and increase the efficiency of reverse-cycle air conditioning for space heating and cooling.

“We believe that better insulating our building stock is vital to accelerating the transition to net zero, futureproofing and enhancing the climate safety of existing homes, and protecting the health of Australians now and into the future,” Hall said.

“Our industry is mature, with strong local advanced manufacturing capability and healthy global supply chains.

“With the support of the right policy and regulatory settings, the insulation industry can make an even more substantive contribution to ensuring Australia’s buildings are net zero compatible, adaptable to changing climate conditions, healthy, and affordable to run.”